Rebekah Jones is a data scientist in the state of Florida who was fired after becoming embroiled in a controversy with the Republican governor of the state Ron DeSantis about how the state reports its covid-19 data. Just another bureaucratic fight, right? But look at how an armed police team raided her home with guns drawn and treat her family, including her young children, like they are violent criminals.
Rebekah Jones, the Florida data scientist embroiled in a dispute with the state’s Republican governor over the handling of coronavirus figures, had her home raided on Monday by armed police who confiscated her computers.
In a stream of posts on Twitter, Jones posted a video of the raid that showed state police carrying handguns escorting her out of her Tallahassee home. She can be heard saying: “He just pointed a gun at my children,” with her husband and two children apparently upstairs at the time.
Jones claimed in her tweets that the raid was the work of Ron DeSantis, the governor with whom she has clashed repeatedly since she was fired by the state’s department of health in May in a row over Covid-19 data. She compared the incident to sending “the gestapo”, adding: “This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly. This is what happens to people who speak truth to power.”
This is life in the US, where the police can treat everyone, even those who are involved in civil disputes and have no history of violence, as if they are armed and dangerous. You want more evidence of this kind of police insanity? Look at what happened to this elderly black couple in Fort Worth, Texas who had been spending a quiet evening in their modest home when it was suddenly invaded by 20 to 30 police who proceeded to tie them up and ransack their home.
More recently, an expert review panel expressed concerns that the Fort Worth police “are not consistently adhering to policies to avoid force during encounters with community members”, and that the department isn’t enforcing those safeguards, either.
“They are operating like this is the wild, wild west, and there are no rules,” said Pamela Young, a community organizer with the grassroots organization United Fort Worth. “There’s no consistent accountability.”
Unless of course you are wealthy like the Sackler family who were behind pushing the opioids produced by their company Purdue Pharmaceuticals that has led to massive drug addiction. Then you are treated very, very gently.